Robert Bailey is an Artist Fellow with the American Society of Aviation Artists (ASAA). He was born and raised in Staffordshire, England. He attended Longton College of Art and for years was in television as a photographer and show host, then in newspapers as a designer, photographer and writer. Robert has been drawing and painting warplanes since he was four years of age, but says that he was 'sidetracked' into television and newspaper careers before realizing his dream of becoming an aviation artist.
A professional, best-selling combat artist, he is widely collected in five countries around the world. Robert's wife, Michelle, assists with the ever-expanding business and is most supportive of his striving to make each next painting the 'best one yet.' He produces an average of three or four new limited edition print projects each year. His action-packed, limited edition prints have sold at FOUR times the volume compared to only three years prior.
Robert Bailey has been painting aviation art canvases since 1990. Each one takes approximately four weeks to produce, being about 24" x 42" in size. The studio is full of plastic scale model aircraft, (over 350) tanks and ships. "When people visit the studio, they pay more attention to the models than to what is on the easel," says Robert. At the beginning of a project, the studio is meticulously neat, but by the time the canvas is finished, it looks as though it's been hit by a cruise missile, with reference books piled high all over the floor. "I rifle through the material, find what I'm looking for, and toss it aside," Robert commented.
The artist released a new title about every eight weeks for over three years, traveling all across the USA and Germany to obtain original signatures on the prints. Robert likes to supervise the signings himself, as he loves to meet the pilots and ground-crews of the aircraft he depicts in World War II action. Meeting signees is both the most exciting and final phase of each of Robert's projects. He is privileged to have made many firm friends who once flew for the air forces of the United States, Britain, Canada and Germany.
Robert continues 'scratching on canvas' (as he calls it) in his secluded country home. He had plans of putting a Boeing 747 jetliner into a stand of trees near the house to use as a gallery, but the cost of moving it from the airport proved to be too costly! (He might settle for a Cessna 172, and use that as an office.)
Robert Bailey Signed and numbered Limited Edition Print "Sting of the Yellowjackets"
Spring of 1944. P≠51D Mustangs of the 361st Fighter Group defend a crippled B≠17 high over Germany.
The supportive relationship that developed between bomber crew and fighter pilots of the Eighth and Ninth Air Forces in the ETO is legendary. It was a tight bond between the 'Big Friends' and their 'Little Friends,' the latter acting in a defensive role out of a desperate need to stem rising casualties among the bomber crews in the bleak years of 1942 and 1943.
In those dark days, bomber crews often had to face seasoned Luftwaffe pilots when they went beyond the limited range of USA and RAF fighters being used at that time. Crew and bomber losses rose alarmingly to unacceptable levels.
The air doctrine that grew out of this dilemma envisioned and achieved full escort coverage for the bomber crews, both to and from their continental targets. Additionally, newer and more potent fighter planes that had increased range, coupled with proven aggressive fighter tactics learned in the early years of the air war, wrestled the enemy skies from the Germans. This left the Luftwaffe as a shell of its former self.
Still, for the crippled stragglers in the wake of bomber streams who fell back from the protective pack of other 'heavies,' the prospect of being alone in the skies over Germany was nerve-wracking, to say the least. Marauding Focke-Wulfs and Messerschmitts often targeted these unfortunate crews as easy prey. Little Friends who responded to the radio pleas of these cripples, often beat back the aggressors and then escorted the bombers as they limped westward and home.
In Robert Bailey's painting STING OF THE YELLOW JACKETS, just such a scenario had unfolded. A single Flying Fortress finds itself all alone in enemy skies, damaged by flak during its bomb run. One engine has been shut down, control surfaces are shredded and there are wounded airmen aboard. Struggling to maintain altitude, the B≠17 is attacked by two Me≠109's bent upon its destruction. Fighters from the 361st Fighter Group, 375 Fighter Squadron enter the fray, destroying one of the attackers and driving off his wingman. The journey home will be uneventful, now that the injured crew have their own private escort of determined Little Friends.
This 23" by 33" sheet size print, limited to 225, is signed by the artist with SIX co-signatures.
LT. COL. JOE KRUZEL's military career began as an Aviation Cadet in May 1940. His first assignment was to the Philippines, where he flew P≠40's in 17 Pursuit Squadron when the Japanese attacked in December 1941. During the first year of war, he was credited with destroying 3 Japanese fighters. On his return to the USA as a Captain, he became a P≠47 Squadron Commander at Richmond, Virginia, where he was later chosen to be the Executive Officer of the 361st Fighter Group, which went to England in November 1943. In Europe, he was credited with destroying 3≠1/2 German fighters. He became Fighter Group Commander of the 361st in September 1944. Other commands include F-100 Fighter Wing and an F-100 Air Division. Key staff posts were in Operations at Headquarters PACAF and at Headquarters USAF, Pentagon. Medals awarded were Silver Star with 2 OLC's, DFC with OLC, Distinguished Service Medal and Presidential Unit Citation. He retired in August 1970 as a Major General. Lt. Colonel Joe Kruzel flew 'Vi,' the Mustang featured in STING OF THE YELLOW JACKETS.
1ST LIEUTENANT LESLIE W. 'BILL' MAY enlisted in the Army Air Corps in March 1942. He graduated from Foster Field, Texas, in May of 1943. After transition to fighters he was transferred to 376 Fighter Squadron at Langley Field, Virginia. Bill was one of the original pilots of the 361st, arriving at Bottisham, England, in November 1943. He flew 93 missions, including escort on the first trip to Berlin and fighter cover during the D≠Day invasion of Europe. He completed his tour of 300 hours of combat with the group in August of 1944. 1st Lieutenant May was awarded the DFG with one Oak Leaf Cluster and the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters. 1st Lieutenant Bill May's aircraft is the second Mustang, as seen in STING OF THE YELLOW JACKETS.
CAPTAIN GEORGE LICHTER joined the 361st Fighter Group, 374 Fighter Squadron, at Richmond Army Base in May 1943. The Group departed for overseas in November 1943 on the liner Queen Elizabeth. Captain Lichter flew 88 combat missions and was credited with destroying 2 enemy aircraft, 1 probable and 3 damaged. He was awarded the DFG and Air Medal and attained the position of Squadron Flight Leader. After returning to the States in December 1944 upon completing his tour of combat, Captain Lichter joined the Israeli Air Force in 1948 where he flew combat in the Messerschmitt 109 and Supermarine Spitfire. This was during the Israeli War of Independence. When this war ended, he trained fighter pilots and was head of the Israeli Advanced Flying School. He became chief instructor in 1950 and returned to the States again in 1951.
1ST LIEUTENANT ROBERT C. 'CHUCK' WRIGHT was born in Williston, North Dakota. He received his pilot's wings in April 1943 and was assigned to 375 Fighter Squadron, 361st Fighter Group and was one of their original pilots. He flew 83 combat missions. Score was 3≠1/2 aircraft destroyed in the air, and 4 on the ground. Chuck was awarded the Silver Star, DFC with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, and Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters. His service career lasted 20 years, the last 7 of which were with the 27th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1962.
1ST LIEUTENANT HENRY B. LEDERER was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He attended New York University and joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 as an Aviation Cadet. His training was on P≠47 Thunderbolts. He was afterwards assigned to the 361st Fighter Group, 376 Fighter Squadron. After transfer to 374 Fighter Squadron he was in Bottisham, England, flying escort to B≠17's and B≠24's, plus ground support missions. In January of 1944 he was involved in the 361st first combat encounter, which was a fight with about 40 Me≠109's. He shared a victory in this battle. Henry flew 305 hours of combat and received the DFC with two OLC's and the Air Medal with two OLC's. He was an 'Eager Beaver' and the first to finish his tour of duty and be rotated home. He had completed 92 missions.
1ST LIEUTENANT DAVID CARL LANDIN joined the U.S. Army in May of 1941, serving with the Field Artillery. He then became an Air Cadet and completed his training at Foster Field, Texas. He then joined the newly formed 361st Fighter Group in 376 Squadron, stationed at Bottisham, England. He began combat operations in January 1944, eventually completing 83 missions. This included D≠Day and escorting 'heavies' to Berlin. He received the DFC with an OLC and the Air Medal with 5 OLC's. Although he left active service in 1945, he stayed in the active reserve, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1971. At this time he was presented with the Meritorious Service Award.
Signatures on the Group Edition Available Upon Request
This print is also available in the following formats:
50 Studio Editions - Signed by artist only - $160
30 Artist's Proofs - With SIX co-signatures - $245
30 Remarqued Editions - With SIX co-signatures - $375
150 Group Edition - With THIRTY-FIVE co-signatures. Comes with a list of signatories, printed on prime, acid-free paper and suitable for framing - $425
Please email for ordering information and shipping costs on these additional options.
A Limited Edition print is restricted to a certain number. For example, if 400 prints are made from an original painting, once theyíre gone, thatís it. There is no limit to the number of open edition prints of a particular painting. Thatís why Limited Edition prints are more expensive ó and more valuable to collectors ó than "open" edition. Rare objects are more valuable.
All Limited Edition prints are signed and numbered (S/N) individually and include a Certificate of Authenticity.
An Artistís Proof (AP), generally, is the first 10% of the Limited Edition prints that come off the press. If the Limited Edition is 400 s/n, there would be 40 APs. This status is noted on the print. Collectors prefer APs because their value increases even more than a Limited Edition as time goes by.
Remarqued prints are a popular way to acquire a work of original art in addition to the limited edition print. They are unique hand rendered pencil drawings relating directly to the subject of the print. They are carefully crafted and complete in every detail. These gem-like drawings embellish the border area and effectively increase the value of the print.
All Limited Edition artwork is subject to availability at time of order. Although seller strives to remain currrent as to inventory, seller reserves the right to cancel a sale if item is no longer available at time of purchase.